Case Study

Find out how CoreCommerce uses LeanKit to provide structure, execute efficiently and stay sane in a fast-moving startup environment.

Customer Profile

CoreCommerce provides a hosted ecommerce solution that helps entrepreneurs and growing businesses quickly setup a functional and engaging online store.

Hosts more than 13,000 ecommerce stores worldwide

Managed $1.2 billion of customer transactions since 2008

Winner of the 2012 American Business Awards’ Gold Stevie® for Programming and Design

We sat down with Matt DeLong, CEO of CoreCommerce, to learn how LeanKit is helping the organization apply Kanban concepts to existing business processes.

Tell us about your organization.

The company was founded in 2001 to help small and medium businesses sell their products online. We employ twenty people; most of us are based in Franklin, Tennessee, and we also have three team members in London and two in India.

What processes do you use to manage your work?

Our approach is largely based on agile and Kanban practices. Our software development team adopted Scrum in June of 2013. The rest of our organization started applying Kanban concepts to existing business processes late last year.

What prompted you to try Kanban?

LeanKit has been the catalyst that’s helping us find ways to be more efficient and productive.

We actually came across LeanKit first - I have a large appetite for trying new software applications and new ways of doing things. I was intrigued by the concept of visualizing work and wanted to give it a try. So in that sense implementing LeanKit has been the catalyst that’s helping us find ways to be more efficient and productive.

What challenges were you trying to address?

Previously we relied on email and verbal communication to manage our work handoffs. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of what needed to be done and by when. This resulted in misunderstandings and oversights, and wasn’t an effective way to manage our workflow. As a result we spent a lot of time in meetings making sure we were all on the same page.

Our leadership team wanted to find a better way to manage and communicate requests. Prior to LeanKit we had a rolling Google doc that we kept adding items to. Over time it became very long, making it difficult to sift through and extract information.

How did you get started with LeanKit?

The first board we created was a ‘Directors To-Do Board’. Instead of sending an email request, we create a card on the board and assign an owner and due date. We make sure that the information in the card is as self-explanatory as possible so that the owner can see what needs to be done.

What other ways are you using LeanKit?

We currently have about 15 boards that we use to manage a broad range of business processes including operational support, recurring meetings, and daily tasks. We’re finding new uses for LeanKit all the time. For example, we planned out our 2014 fiscal year in LeanKit and are using the board to execute on those plans. We created a swim lane for each month and added the initiatives for each department.

Planning with LeanKit

How are you using LeanKit to manage meetings?

We were drawn to the ‘Lean Coffee’ approach where people put cards on a board to indicate the topics they want to discuss. For recurring meetings, such as our weekly Leadership Team meeting and daily stand up meetings, we have a process where we add topics to the discussion board ahead of time to pre-define the agenda. If there aren’t any cards put on the board we cancel the meeting. Any to-dos discussed during the meeting are added to the board too.

Meetings run with LeanKit

What improvements are you seeing with LeanKit?

Using LeanKit has streamlined the way we work and eliminated a lot of wasted time. The biggest improvement has been how we communicate and collaborate with each other. Our handoffs are much smoother now - using LeanKit helps us set clear expectations of what’s needed and provides a visual reminder of what we’ve committed to do.

Are there any other benefits of using LeanKit?

LeanKit reduces the feeling of chaos and keeps us sane.

We’ve been able to reduce the number of meetings and the duration of them, so it’s definitely saving us time - which in turn gives us more time to focus on getting the actual work done. It’s also helping us execute work more efficiently. We all agree that it reduces the feeling of chaos and keeps us sane – we don’t have to rely on email workflow now and our work is flowing more smoothly.

What features do you particularly like in LeanKit?

Flexibility with LeanKit

I like the mobility that LeanKit provides; I often use the iOS app when I’m on the go and want to capture a thought while it’s fresh in my mind. We view our LeanKit boards on an overhead projector in our conference room using an iPad, AirPlay and Apple TV. Any updates we make on the iPad are displayed on the projector in real-time.

How would you summarize the value CoreCommerce gets from using LeanKit?

With startup companies, you’re constantly figuring out more efficient ways to do things with limited resources. Things are always moving so fast and it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed. LeanKit gives us structure amidst what can otherwise feel like chaos. It’s helping us become more organized and execute more efficiently.

Thanks CoreCommerce, for sharing your story with us!